August 2017


In this issue

  • Good News about Rep. Susan Brooks
  • Looking for a Professional Energy Audit?
  • Don't Weaken the Endangered Species Act
  • Three More Churches Expanding Solar
  • Please Add Your Solar Congregation to IPL's National Directory
  • News from the Hoosier Solarize Initiative
  • Other Upcoming Events:
    --Kokomo Green Picnic
    --Upcoming Solar Webinar
    --Join a Property Conservation Tour
    --Just Friday discussions August 25
    --Using Energy Prudently workshops
    --Climate Boot Camps
    --Eco-Justice Field Trip

Good News about Representative Susan Brooks!

brooks.pngOn July 12, Susan Brooks, Republican Congresswoman for Indiana’s District 5 joined twenty other House Republicans in co-sponsoring the Republican Climate Resolution, H. Res. 195. District 5 includes the suburbs north of Indianapolis up to Kokomo and Mario. Not only does this resolution express a commitment to environmental stewardship, but many of its members are voting to retain concern for climate change in other bills. Read more about the resolution here.

If you are in Rep. Brooks’s district, please do reach out to thank her for making this move. If you are not, please reach out to your own state rep, encouraging him or her to join Rep. Brooks in taking a stand for our environmental future.

In more news, read “Climate: Bipartisan Momentum Grows in Congress.” And see this page about the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which now has 26 Republican and 26 Democratic members. Please invite Rep. Brooks and other Indiana representatives to join this growing movement.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington D.C. works hard alongside Citizens Climate Lobby to encourage legislators’ participation in these initiatives. Their Advocacy Corp connects local activists and leaders to legislators to effect large, long-term change. This year the Advocacy Corp is focusing on climate change, and asking members in the House of Representatives to join the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus and to protect climate funding in the federal budget. In the Senate, they are asking members to protect Climate funding in the budget. Morgan Mack ( or is an Indiana Advocacy Corps member, and is available to help others strategize in contacting their legislators. 

Looking for a Professional Energy Audit for Your Congregational Building?

LIT is a nonprofit LLC with deep experience in energy management. Its founder, Colby May, was already a certified energy manager when he decided to return to seminary. After getting his theological degree from Gordon Conwell in Massachusetts, he founded LIT in 2012 in order to promote environmental stewardship and fossil fuel divestment, and to redirect energy savings to missions. See their own mission statement here.

A matching grant for Indiana only may help with your energy study. LIT’s goal is for the studies to pay for themselves in less than six months. LIT has helped many seminaries and religious organizations reduce their utility bills including, in Indiana, Anabaptist Mennonite Theological Seminary in Elkhart, Castleview Baptist Church  and Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, and the Presbyterian Foundation in Jeffersonville.

In cooperation with the Center for Congregations, LIT will be offering full day Energy Management workshops this fall on November 28 and 29 in Indianapolis. Watch the H-IPL and Center for Congregations calendars for details. Contact Colby May directly here.

Don’t Weaken the Endangered Species Act

Some of you may have seen this letter to the editor (text below), which appeared recently in the Indianapolis Star. It was written by our own board chair, the Rev. Wyatt Watkins, along with his daughter Rachael Ledbetter.

Don't weaken Endangered Species Act

We agree about many things and disagree over only a few, but little unites us more than our delight at a world of bats, bees, and butterflies, wolves and whooping cranes, and our dread at the thought of a world without them. Whether trail running at Eagle Creek or backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, we revel in the wonder of wild. We are a father and daughter who share a passion for wild places and species and the need to not only protect them but re-imagine our intimate relationship with them.

Dad is an American Baptist pastor and chair of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, a faith response to the climate crisis; daughter is a biologist, former Indianapolis Zoo forest keeper, and current urban farmer. Together we urge Sens. Joe Donnelly and Todd Young to fight like wolverines against any weakening of the Endangered Species Act as contemplated in legislation like S.1514, trained on gray wolves in the Great Lakes Region that eliminates their endangered status, and undermines citizens’ rights to go to court to protect endangered wildlife. 

There is no disputing it: the ESA is good for Indiana’s economy, safeguarding the $1.7 billion wildlife recreation industry. It keeps Hoosiers healthy, protecting the endangered bats which help check mosquitos, carriers of lethal viruses like West Nile and Zika. The law also helps keep Hoosier crops healthy, protecting insect predators like the Indiana bat and native pollinators including butterflies and bumble bees. And nationally it has saved 99 percent of species in danger of extinction in the U.S.

But here’s the thing: some endangered species like the gray wolf are keystone species, top predators who act upon entire habitats. Removing wolves from the endangered list will cause a cascade effect. Dwindling wolf populations will allow their prey such as deer to decimate plant populations the deer consume, in turn triggering soil erosion. 

Not only should we resist unraveling ESA protections, we should be viewing wildlife policy by its impact on entire ecosystems. Safeguarding against extinction is necessary, but it is time to move beyond mere reactionary policy to holistic prevention policy. 

Apart from their critical place in ecosystems, wolves hold a powerful presence in our cultural and spiritual psyche. Let’s keep them on the endangered species list among all other reasons in order to protect ourselves from forgetfulness over our own place in the wild. 

Three More Churches Expanding Solar in Southern Indiana

Congratulations to First Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville, and the Unitarian Universalist Church and Trinity Episcopal Church in Bloomington, who are expanding their solar arrays!

Why are they doing this when they already have solar panels? Two reasons: 

Return on Investment: The relatively low cost of panel installation, now about $2.10/watt, and the sun exposure in southern Indiana, about 1.25 kWh per installed watt per year, gives a return on investment of better than 5% per year.

End of Net Metering:  While Indiana legislators passed legislation terminating net metering in Indiana, installations of solar panels completed before the end of 2017 will continue to participate for the next 30 years. 

JeffersonvilleFPCSolarArray.pngFirst Presbyterian Church spent this past week more than doubling the solar array it installed in 2015, going from less than 13 kW to more than 28 kW. The new array of 45 Hanwha 330-watt panels, on a flat roof above the education wing, wasp installed by Third Sun Solar of Athens, Ohio. Together, the church’s solar panels are expected to supply at least half of their electricity needs—more as they continue replacing worn out HVAC equipment and introducing other energy conservation measures. This project was funded by $30,000 in congregational donations, including a matching fund program that brought in the final $10,000 needed. Whereas the first array cost $3 per watt, with falling solar costs, this one was only $2 per watt.

Trinity Episcopal Church’s panels already provide about 20% of its electricity, and have proven an excellent investment, freeing resources for other outreach activities such as the Winter Shelter for the homeless in Bloomington. The panels have also encouraged members to reduce home energy use and even to install panels on their home.  

Trinity is planning for a second array, sufficient to cover an additional 15% of their energy use. Funding for these panels will likely come partly from contributions from the congregation and partly from Trinity’s Endowment funds. 

UUCBloomingtonSign-1.pngThe Unitarian Universalist Church in Bloomington just raised $42,698 to add a second array to their church, and are rejoicing that their narrative as a church that cares about our earth will be heard loud and clear. Five percent of their funds will be donated to Solar For All to make solar technology available to people with low and moderate incomes. 

The installation will be done by their building co-chair Dick Stumpner and his son, who have reserved 54 high quality 300-watt LG Neon panels and a Solar Edge Optimizer for the church, and ten additional panels that they are donating to Solar For All. This church is very committed to the Paris Pledge, which they signed in 2015. See a very informative slide show here.

From Our National Organization:

Please Add Your Solar Congregation to the National Directory

IPLgraphic.pngHas your faith community installed solar or joined a solar community power program? If your answer is yes, please fill out the short 2-minute survey here.  You will be entered to win a $50 Visa gift card. If you do not know the information please pass the survey on to the right person in your faith community.

We know that many congregations in the IPL network are using solar energy, and many more are considering it but may not know where to start. That’s why we are creating the first-ever national directory of solar congregations. 

This directory will list congregations across the country using solar, including those willing to be a resource or answer questions for other congregations in their area. You will be able to find out how many solar congregations there are, which states have the most, and what financing models they are using. We hope it will be a great resource for our entire network and beyond – and a demonstration of the faith community’s collective impact.

Please help by taking the solar survey right now. Fill out the survey by August 15th and you will be entered to win a $50 Visa gift card.

As our country exits the Paris Climate Accord and the federal government tries to pull the plug on clean energy programs, it’s time for us to step up. In most states, we can choose to power our own facilities with clean power. 

If your faith community does not currently use solar and is considering it please click here to receive more information. (To receive information local to Indiana, click here instead.)

Let’s band together to demonstrate a conscientious, moral and pro-active response to the climate crisis. Let your values shine and demonstrate care for the Earth to our communities. 

News from Hoosier Solarize Initiative

HomeSolarGraphic.pngGoing Solar workshops and parties are going on all over the state. Solarize programs make it easier and less costly for home and business owners to install solar panels now, before SEA 309 goes into effect. Here is a list of the events we know about, from the north to the south ends of the state. Find out how you can get in on group prices to solarize your home, business, or congregation at one of these events!

Solarize GoshenSaturday, August 12, 9am at Bethany Christian School
Tuesday, August 22, 7 pm at the Goshen Chamber of Commerce
Find a flyer and more information here.

Solarize South BendThursday, August 17, 6:30 pm at the First Unitarian Church of South Bend.
Find a flyer and more information here.


Solarize Kokomo

Contact Peter Kane for more information (

Solarize Muncie

Tuesday, August 15, 6 - 7 pm at Maring-Hunt Library

Solarize Hamilton County

Wednesday, August 16, 6:30 - 8:30, Carmel Clay Public Library. RSVP.
Wednesday, August 23, 6:30 - 8:30, Noblesville City Hall RSVP.
Tuesday, August 29, 6:30 - 7:30, Westfield Washington Public Library RSVP.
Click here to learn more.  Click here for flyer.

Solarize IndianapolisSolarize Indianapolis has its own website now. Go here to find upcoming solar parties throughout August and into September. Here is a flyer for August 15 at All Souls Unitarian Church’s event.


Solarize Batesville/Oldenburg

Wednesday, August 16, 7 pm at the Batesville Memorial Public Library
Thursday, August 17, 6:30 pm at the ICA Hall, Oldenburg, 1st floor classroom
Monday, August 21, 6:30 pm at the Batesville Memorial Public Library
Here is a flyer with more information.

Solarize Bloomington

August 10 and August 22 at City Hall.
Find out more and sign up at the Solarize Bloomington website. More info here too.

Solarize EvansvilleSaturday, August 19, 2-4 pm, Oaklyn Library Meeting Room
Saturday, August 26, 1-3 pm at the Red Bank Library Meeting Room.
Find a flyer and more information here.



Solarize Sunny SideSolarize the Sunny Side (that’s Kentuckiana: Jeffersonville, New Albany, Clarksville) is up and running.
Monday, Aug 14, 6-7:30 pm, First Presbyterian Church of Jeffersonville
Tuesday, Aug 22, 6-7:30 pm, Park Christian Church, New Albany
Thursday, Aug 24, 6-7:30 pm, New Albany Public Library
Monday, August 28, 6-7:30 pm, Jeffersonville Public Library
Find a flyer and more info here.


Solarize Initiatives are also taking place in Elkhart, Fort Wayne, Greater Lafayette, and Terre Haute and possibly Gary, Hammond, and Richmond. To find out about info sessions in any of these areas, contact Hoosier Solar Initiative at


Other Upcoming Events

Kokomo Green Picnic, August 10

picnicgraphic.pngThe Kokomo Area Affiliate of the Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light will host our fourth  “green” picnic, followed by a meeting with our guest speaker, Adrienne Akers, on Thursday, August 10th, 6pm on the grounds of Christ Lutheran Church at 3401 Dixon Rd. 

You are encouraged to bring a dish made from locally grown food to share if possible. Adrienne Akers, Market Master from the Kokomo Farmer’s Market, will update us about the market, including new programs that have been added as well as the future events planned for the rest of the summer and fall season.

The meeting is open to all. For more information please contact Carol Chen at 

Success with Solar Webinar—Monday, August 14

solarpic.pngCurious about implementing solar into your sustainable practices but not sure it is right for your operations? Join Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, South Shore Clean Cities, the Michiana Area Council of Governments, and Midwest Wind & Solar for a Success With Solar Webinar to learn more. Hear from industry experts about solar applications in our region, how recent legislation impacts solar in Indiana, programs to help defray costs, success stories, funding options and more! Register here. Speakers Include:

  • Solar 101: Marc Van Dongen, Midwest Wind & Solar
  • Solarize Programs & Senate Enrolled Act 309: Leah Thill, MACOG
  • Success Stories: Trisha Tull, Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light
  • Funding Success: Carl Lisek, South Shore Clean Cities

Date: Monday, August 14, 2017

Time: 2 pm - 3 pm Eastern; 1 pm - 2 pm Central 

Find a downloadable flyer here.

Register here.

Join a Property Conservation Tour in Hamilton County

Hamilton_County.pngMany homeowners associations, religious congregations, and other large property owners are looking for alternative ways to manage their large, underutilized common areas and pond edges. Maintaining turf grass can be expensive in time, money, and inputs like fertilizers and pesticides. Many properties are shifting to restoring these areas to beautiful plantings of native meadows or rain gardens to save money, improve their environment, and create a recreational asset for the community. These projects often start with lots of questions about installation, maintenance, costs, and aesthetics. The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District has planned a workshop and bus tour on August 26th to see several projects in various stages of development. Find a flyer with more information and photos here.

This event will be a one stop shop for people who are interested in these projects or want to introduce the idea to congregational leadership. Attendees will learn all about the projects and benefits, including cost savings, resources, and maintenance. “The most helpful thing will probably be seeing the projects and being able to hear from HOA/church leaders on their successes and challenges and also from Williams Creek Management about installation and maintenance.” said Claire Lane, who has organized the event. 

The workshop and tour will take place Saturday August 26th from 9am to approximately 2:30pm. It will begin and conclude at Grace Church at 5504 E 146th St, Noblesville, IN 46062, and will visit four sites via charter bus (included in registration).

Registration is $15 per person (includes box lunch on the tour) and can be completed at Space is limited, please register by August 23. 

This event is brought to you by the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District with support from Williams Creek Management and Grace Church. Questions regarding the event can be directed to Claire Lane at or 317-773-2181. 

Just Friday Discussion, August 25 in Bloomington

This month’s topic is Climate Change and the Stuff We Own.earthcarelogo.png

7 - 9 pm in the Roger Williams Hall at First United Church, 2420 E. 3rd St., Bloomington. All are welcome. For more information contact the organizer, Hopi Stosberg at or go to All are welcome.

Solar Panel Forum Saturday, September 16 in Indianapolis

Harnessing the sunshine at your congregation or home is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint and free up financial resources to be redirected to energy conservation measures and other ministries in your faith community. Even if your congregation might not be ready for solar now, this is a great way to get an introduction and begin planning. Come and learn about the new solar panels and what it takes to install and finance solar power.

September 16, 10 am - 12 pm, All Souls Unitarian Church, 5805 East 56th Street, Indianapolis, IN. Free and open to the public. Ray Wilson, H-IPL’s Using Energy Prudently specialist, will lead and answer questions.

Using Energy Prudently Workshops in Fort Wayne, South Bend, Carmel

  • Saturday, Aug 26, 1 - 5 pm at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, Fort Wayne
  • Saturday, Sept 9, 10 am - 3 pm at First United Methodist Church, South Bend
  • Sunday, Sept 17, 1 - 5 pm at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, Carmel

uep.jpgH-IPL’s Using Energy Prudently workshops equip congregations with the tools they need to greatly reduce energy use in houses of worship and save significant funds for other purposes. Gain practical information about sealing your building's envelope; maintaining and replacing HVAC equipment; using zoning and thermostats to slash energy waste; lighting technologies for various rooms; and detecting energy hogs in your building. With stories and step-by-step tools, we’ll show you how to cut your congregation’s energy use and get your congregation on board. You’ll have time to figure out what will work for you. You’ll get just what you need to put your learning into action.

Go here for more information, and register here. Participants may also register and pay at the door. Covers refreshments and a notebook of materials to take with you.

Climate Boot Camp in Fort Wayne, South Bend

  • Thursday, September 14, 9 am - 3:30 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, Fort Wayne
  • Saturday, September 16, 9 am - 3:30 pm at St. Anthony de Padua Catholic Church, South Bend

climatebootcamp.jpgDay-long workshops for faith leaders and members, led by climate scientist Dr. Ben Brabson, environmental theologian Dr. Trisha Tull, and H-IPL board chair the Rev. Wyatt Watkins. They will discuss the scientific, theological, economic, and pastoral challenges and rewards of speaking out about climate change. We hope to help every Hoosier of faith to speak confidently and boldly about global warming and its impacts, and to encourage their communities to respond with vigor and hope.

Go here for more information, and register here. Immediately upon registration you will receive downloadable articles to read to prepare you for the day. Registration covers lunch, a folder of materials, and a two-hour support follow-up meeting three months later.

If your congregation or community would like to host a Climate Boot CampUsing Energy Prudently Workshop, or other H-IPL workshop, please contact Trisha Tull.

Moving Towards Eco Justice Field Trip

Friday, Sept 15 - Sunday, Sept 17

Attention college students and young adults!

Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light is coordinating a weekend-long excursion to southwest Indiana to explore issues of eco-justice and faith. Please see our flyer for details.

Check the H-IPL on-line calendar

Find future events in your area, including movies, lectures, and workshops.


Grassroots efforts to address climate change are more important than ever. Please consider a gift to help H-IPL continue to grow and build the movement to care for creation.

Donate Today Button

Recent issues of the monthly newsletter can be accessed by scrolling toward the bottom of our homepage.

Visit our web site

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter